Presentation of Partisanship: Constituency Connections and Partisan Congressional Activity


  • *Direct correspondence to Scott R. Meinke, Department of Political Science, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837 〈〉. Replication data are available from the author upon request. The author thanks Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari, Karen Guarino, and Carl Marchioli for research assistance and valuable input. He is grateful to Christian Grose, Greg Robinson, Kevin Scott, and Gisela Sin for helpful critiques and conversations. Earlier versions of this research were presented at the 2006 and 2007 Midwest Political Science Association Meetings.


Objectives. This article explores how House members relate their involvement in partisan Washington activity to constituency representation.

Methods. Building on Fenno's familiar conception of home style, I argue that certain House members have an incentive to develop a partisan home style that emphasizes party activity in Washington. I examine this relationship by studying the extended party leadership (party committees and whip networks), looking for connections between member/constituency characteristics and extended leaders' choices to advertise partisan leadership activity on their official websites. Logit models are used to test for relationships between these variables.

Results. Members vary widely in whether and how they communicate their partisan activity, with constituency factors, career stage, and majority party status all affecting the choice.

Conclusions. House members make strategic choices about incorporating partisan Washington activity into their home style.